Eating Green’ is what the green kitchen begins with, but it certainly does not end there. To have a truly healthy and green kitchen, one must have to focus on things like preparations that are energy efficient, using equipment made from sustainable materials, and keeping a check on food items containing toxic chemicals. Fortunately, making the right choices for our health also ensures the well being of our pocket and the planet.
To quote Mark Bittman, the famous American food journalist, “..to spend tens of thousands of dollars or more on a kitchen before learning how to cook, as is sadly common — is to fall into the same kind of silly consumerism that leads people to believe that an expensive gym membership will get them into shape or the right bed will improve their sex life. As runners run and writers write, cooks cook, under pretty much any circumstance.”
Here are a few suggestions that will transform you into a greener gourmet.
Save Water in the Kitchen By Filtering It
The tap water can be filtered to remove lead, chloroform and the taste of chlorine. This will save the money used to buy bottled waters and help reduce the resources and energy used in their production and shipping. It’ll also keep a check on the dispose of plastic bottles and jugs. The water used to wash the vegetables can be used in other purposes such as cleaning cars and wiping the floor instead of discarding it directly into the sink. Vegetable stock can be put in soups and can also be used to cook lentils or rice. Not only it adds to the flavour, but also helps save water in significant amounts.
Eat more Fresh Food
If every American had one meat free meal per week, the carbon dioxide reduction would be equal to removing more than 5 million cars from the road, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.
Choosing an apple over a bag of chips might not seem very tempting, but it is a smart nutritional choice that also helps reduce the energy used in processing, packaging and delivering the bag, then disposing and recycling the waste left behind. To grow food for oneself is another eco friendly way. There’s nothing like bringing a red pepper or pinch of basil that you’ve grown to your table.
Eco Friendly Cookware
Not only does natural cookware promote green living, it also prevents harmful and toxic chemicals from tainting your food. Choose cookware and utensils that stand the test of time, and last for a while. Go for stainless steel or cast iron instead of Teflon or Plastic, and look for cookware made of recycled materials, including handles derived from recycled aluminium and even bamboo.
Shop from local Markets
Fresh vegetables that are locally grown taste great and save the environment the oil-hungry transportation cost of moving food. Buying fruits and vegetables directly from the farmers makes it cheaper as the cost of transportation is cut down. Also, it enables a support for the local farmers.
Reuse Aluminium Foil
After wrapping lunches, snacks and leftovers in the aluminium foil, it can be rinsed and reused for the same purposes. Pans and baking dishes can be lined with aluminium to make cleanup easier, so that less water is used for the same. Using recycled material ensures that you are doing a great deed for the environment as there’s an 80 percent reduction in the amount of energy used during the process of turning recycled material into foil, compared to making it from new materials.
Look for Organic Items
The growing demand of food worldwide has led the producers to use pesticides and other chemicals to satisfy the need for food. Bite into an apple from a standard supermarket, and you could be consuming more than 20 potentially dangerous chemicals. However, the crops produced through organic farming practices are free of chemicals, are grown in the natural way that helps encourage soil and water conservation. Organic foods provide more nutrients, minerals and vitamins than food grown in large commercial farms. Don’t forget to take along reusable jute or paper bags to the grocery store and skip the plastic bags.
Cook with Natural Gas instead of Electricity
Gas cooktops are a greener choice as they are energy efficient. Because the fuel is directly used for cooking, they are preferred over electric cooktops for which electricity has to be generated from another source of energy, like coal or gas. Natural gas cooktops and ranges offer even cooking, high-output burners and low simmer temperatures. And you can still cook if the electricity goes out.
Use the Appliances in a Greener Way
Appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers make use of a large percent of a household’s energy. Optimising their use is one of the green habits one must develop. Putting hot leftovers directly into the fridge increases the temperature inside, so it has to use more energy to keep the foods cool. Let the leftovers come down to the room temperature for a while before putting them into the refrigerator. It’s also best to keep your freezer as full as possible. Fill any empty space with reusable ice packs so it will stay cooler and use less energy. Don’t be afraid to use your dishwasher. It’s a very efficient appliance, and you’ll use less water than by washing dishes. Just keep in mind that you run it only when it is full and choose the most efficient settings. Use the energy efficient Star energy appliances that use less energy.
70 percent of the amount of household waste can be composted rather than thrown in the trash. The reduction in cooking time and energy use from using a pressure cooker to cook food also adds up to around 70 percent. With these quick and easy tips, one can easily live green even in the kitchen and help save the environment and the natural resources. After all, it appears that Kermit the Frog may have been mistaken when he said, “It’s not easy being green.!”